Climate Change Past and Present
As our oceans warm, become increasingly acidic, and loose oxygen, it is increasingly important to understand how the changes we observe today compare to those in the Earth’s past. The goal of my research is to connect the past and present of climate change. Ongoing projects focus on rapid climate change in North Pacific through the last deglaciation and understanding how Oxygen Minimum Zones in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific have evolved both in the recent past as well as on during recent intervals of warm (interglacial) and cool (glacial) climate states.
Foraminiferal Abundances and Geochemistry
One of the best sources of information about past climates is the marine fossil record. In particular, the shells of foraminifera, a single-celled marine organism, represent one of the most widely used proxies for past environments, while simultaneously contributing to global carbon cycling. Understanding how these creatures respond to their environment is essential for a robust interpretation of their fossil record. As both a Ph.D. and a M.Sc. student, I’ve studied size and weight changes of calcifying organisms in response to environmental variability (e.g. oxygen, temperature and carbonate chemistry) on time scales of decades to millennia. This interest in understanding the fossil record of marine climate change has continued. More recently, I have been involved in several projects that document the response of species assemblages to seasonal and inter-annual oceanographic variability. I am also interested in using modern systems to understand how interrelated environmental influences are recorded in the geochemistry of foraminifera shells.
Laboratory Culture of Foraminifera
Laboratory culture of foraminifera has served as an important link for validation of hypotheses developed both from the modern ocean and the sediment record. I have been extensively involved in laboratory culture of planktic foraminifera at several field sites. Through this work, I seek to expand current understandings of the relationships between the geochemistry of foraminiferal shells, temperature, and pH. Laboratory culture of foraminifera has also resulted in important insights into the life history, biology, and physiology of important foraminiferal groups.